Since 2012 Tisséo-SMTC, the public transport local authority of Greater Toulouse, has been encouraging companies and administrations located in the Toulouse urban area to continue and foster their actions in the field of sustainable mobility towards their employees. For this purpose an award named 'Trophées Ecomobilité Tisséo' was set up. Every year, during the European Mobility Week through an official ceremony, several organisations are rewarded for their efforts and receive prizes linked to urban mobility dedicated to their staff. In addition, the reward is a unique piece of art designed by a local artist especially for the occasion.
For over 30 years the population has grown considerably in the Toulouse metropolitan area (between 10 000 and 15 000 newcomers per year) which has resulted also in a strong urban sprawl. The number of public transport trips rose by 80 per cent between 2006 (89m) and 2013 (170m), moving Toulouse up three places to 4th in a national table of the most public transport trips taken in France. Today, 700 000 people use Tisséo-SMTC services daily compared with 500 000 in 2006.
Although these results are extremely encouraging from a public transport perspective, the private car remains dominant. As part of Toulouse’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) mobility management is identified as a key element in changing mobility behaviour, together with further developing the transport network. One of the actions refers directly to recognising organisations for their achievements through a 'quality label' award to further their urban mobility commitments.
The main objectives of this labelling are to assess local Workplace Mobility Plan (WMP) projects, to promote initiatives developed by companies and administrations, to encourage those who have a WMP 'in progress' to continue their efforts and to revitalise projects that have temporarily stalled.
To create an attractive award Tisséo-SMTC established a technical committee composed of local partners, which includes:
- local authority members of Tisséo-SMTC;
- the Consular Chamber;
- the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME);
- the Regional Agency for Sustainable Development (ARPE);
- the French Rail Network an Company (SNCF); and
- the Centre For Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility, and Urban and Country planning (CEREMA).
Each year since this setup, the approach has been evaluated in order to better adapt the selection process to improve the quality of the future editions. In the first year a panel of representative local organisations was created. The evaluation methodology proposed to work on two areas: firstly, to test the evaluation grid of the labelling project and to participate in a communication and marketing co-building workshop to determine the name and visual identity of the label/award. Secondly, employees were involved in an online survey during the French Sustainable Development Week (from 1 to 7 April) to assess their readiness to join the initiative.
The general approach is the following: each year, a call for contributions is launched by Tisséo-SMTC to collect organisations’ submissions. The call is open for around two months. To simplify companies and administrations’ submissions, a dedicated guide was produced and is updated each year.
A jury composed of political representatives and officials deliberate over the summer. Their assessment is based on an evaluation grid especially designed for the awards. The three levels of the award (gold, silver and bronze) offer recognition to organisations. There are also several prizes to promote alternatives to individual car-use, such as a free subscription to the Tisseo carpooling system, bike workshops, training sessions for mobility managers, road-safety training sessions for employees, and free public transport travel cards.
Finally, during the European Mobility Week, a dedicated ceremony is organised in the city hall to officially reward organisations and deliver them their trophy, which is a unique piece of art designed by a local artist. The award is valid for two years, after which companies and administrations are able to submit again their candidature.
The first awards in 2012 were notable for the participation of large companies with more of 500 employees. The second edition highlighted WMPs at inter-enterprise level (PDIE – Plan de Déplacements InterEntreprise). For the purpose of this second edition, a specific evaluation grid was developed. In the third edition small and medium-sized enterprises were the respondents to the call for contributions.
In total, since 2012, more than 31 applications have been received and 25 companies have been rewarded. Recent gold awards were awarded to Thalès Alenia Space (2012); to the PDIE 'TOP' (2013); and to l’INRA (2014). However, the last edition in 2014 recorded a reduced number of participative organisations. To revitalise the event, new proposals will be formulated for the 2015 edition.
One of the first challenges was to gather local partners to obtain their support. The second was to involve companies and administrations from the beginning of the process to ease their acceptance of the project and ensure the submission of their contributions. Each year, there is much effort to encourage companies and administrations to apply.
This is also one of the challenges that Tisséo-SMTC has to face every year: find enough companies and administrations involved in sustainable urban mobility that want to submit their actions. It is crucial to contact targeted organisations several months before the call is launched to encourage them to submit their application.
Furthermore, to tackle this difficulty and to improve the attractiveness of the award ceremony, a half-day conference will be organised for the 2015 edition with a dedicated theme and with the participation of a high-level media representative known for his sustainable development commitment. This conference will be followed by the award ceremony. The number of awards will also be reduced to one gold, one silver, one bronze, one PDIE and one special award. The quality of the prizes will also be improved.
This initiative is mostly transferable to cities or local authorities involved in encouraging WMPs or commuting plans in their urban area. Rewarding organisations for their commitments towards sustainable mobility remains a good opportunity to tighten the links with those who can influence urban mobility behaviour changes.